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2009

LlywelynTheGreat100
Hafod Garth Celyn

This account was writen in 1890

It was at Aber Prince Llewelyn received the summons of the English, King to surrender the Principality, but whether Pen y Bryn or Hafod Garth Celyn at the other end of the glen was the site of the royal residence it is not easy to determine. Several of Llewelyn's letters and documents are however, dated from the latter place. Having in 1194 inherited the throne of North Wales, in 1202 he claimed and received homage from nearly all the Princes of Wales as lord paramount, according to the laws of Rhodri the Great and Hywel Dda. In the same year he married Joan, the daughter of John, King of England, with whom he received as a dowry the lordship of Ellesmere in the Marches. But becoming jealous of his power, King John in 1211 invaded North Wales with a large army and encamped on the banks of the Conway. His supplies being cut off by Prince Llewelyn, he was obliged to retreat, and his army sustained a severe loss. The following August he made another expedition into Wales crossed the river Conway, and the King with a portion of his army remained at Aber; but the other portion was sent on under the leadership of some Welsh Princes to burn the City of Bangor, trusting probably that Llewelyn was there. Here they took Robert of Shrewsbury, the bishop, prisoner from before the altar. He was afterwards liberated upon paying two hundred hawks for his ransom. In the meantime, it being corn harvest, the prince had probably disbanded most of his followers and his castle at Aber being feebly garrisoned to withstand the formidable army which the King brought against him through Bwlch y Ddeufaen, he prudently attempted no opposition, and with a few followers retired to the mountain fastnesses of Snowdon, and from the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn (so named probably from him) he witnessed the conflagration at Bangor. Seeing therefore that resistance was useless, he despatched his Princess to her father, soliciting terms of peace. In this she succeeded, but the terms were far from favourable to Llewelyn. In 1214, the Welsh' Prince joined the English barons in the confederacy against John, for which he was excommunicated by the Pope. From this to the end of his reign he was actively engaged in hostilities against Henry III., and success generally attended his arms. After a reign of forty-six years, he died April 11, 1240, and was buried at Abercouway, the abbey of which he founded in 1185, as well as the Friary of Lanfaes in 1237 over the graves of his wife Joan. Llewelyn was succeeded on the throne by his son Dafydd, to the prejudice of his eldest brother Grnffydd whom after a civil war he had taken prisoner and kept in close confinement. After a reign of six. years he died brokenhearted at Aber in the year 1246 and was buried with his father at Aberconway. As he died childless the nobles in a council elected Owen and Llewelyn sons of his brother Gruffydd to the sovereignty of North Wales. The latter Prince made the Castle at Aber his principal residence. After about nine years of tranquility, Llewelyn was engaged in hostilities with his brother Owen who had formed the design of securing to himself the whole power and had gained over the youngest brother David to aid his ambitious attempts. They were however both defeated by Llewelyn, taken prisoners and long kept in confinement and from the year 1254 he enjoyed the sole possession of the sovereignty. Having refused to pay homage to Edward I., on his accession to the Throne of England, the territories of Llewelyn were invaded in 1277 by an immense army under Edward, and the Prince was forced to accept a treaty of peace which left him only the mountainous districts together with the Isle of Anglesey which he was to hold in vassalage. In 1282 the Welsh again took up arms attacked the English garrisons and defeated several detachments of the enemy. Edward then sent a large army to Wales, and directed his forces to Anglesey, but in attempting to cross the Menai Straits at Moelydon by a bridge of boats, his army was completely defeated by the Welsh who rushed upon them from the neighbouring heights and those who escaped the sword perished in the sea. The only one it is said of the King's army who escaped was Sir William Latimer and that mainly through the strength of his horse. This engagement took place November 6, 1282 and it is stated that Llewelyn made a feast at Aber to his friends to celebrate the victory. However this joy was of but short duration and it was probably the last feast held in Aber's princely hall. Elated with his success Llewelyn led a large army to South Wales leaving the Snowdon District in charge of his brother David and ravaging Cardiganshire he directed his forces to Builth. In a wood near this place the gallant Llewelyn was treacherously slain by Adam de Francon. His head was then cut off and carried to King Edward at Ruddlan Castle. This took Place December 10th 1282 upon which his brother David became Prince of Wales and continued for a time the war of independence but the death of the brave Llewelyn quite unnerved his countrymen so that the support he received was but very slight. In a sharp engagement with the Earl of Warwick near Dolbadarn his small armv was entirely routed and it is said that no less than three thousand Welshmen perished. Those who survived fled for refuge to the inaccesible rocks of Snowdonia and David with a few followers hid himself for some months at different places and suffered hunger and cold. At last he retreated to a bog (Nanhysglain), near Bera Mountain about four miles above Aber with his wife two sons and seven daughters. His place of retreat was known to Einion Bishop of Bangor and Gronw ab Dafydd, who basely betrayed him at night, June 21, 1283. All were taken prisoner to Edward who was staying at Ruddlan Castle and with them the relics, regalias and the crown of King Arthur. From there David was moved in chains to Shrewsbury where being tried as an English baron he was executed in a most barbarous and cruel manner.  His head was afterwards fixed on a pole and set up on Tower Hill London by the side of that of his brother Llewelyn. Thus ended the Welsh dynasty which had fought for its existence since the departure of the Romans for a period of 800 years.